Breaking the “conspiracy of silence” and the effectiveness of #KONY2012

I would dare to say that, by now, every person in America who is linked in at even a minimal level, has heard of the STOP KONY in 2012 campaign, and is one of the hundreds of millions of people who have seen the video. Made by Invisible Children to bring awareness to the atrocious crimes committed by Joseph Kony, the video aims to make Kony “famous,” for the sole purpose of making the whole world know his name and bring him down.

My initial reaction to the video was positive, but I do have some critiques. So bear with me:

– The idea of making Kony infamous by making him famous is downright brilliant. To make him a household name is the only way that he will be able to be found and stopped.

– The use of the director’s son, Gavin, was perfect. To explain this complex situation to a little child makes it easily accessible for all to understand. Not to mention that he is probably one of the cutest little blonde kids I’ve ever seen (no offense to my little blonde brother 😉 )

– The fact that this entire movement has been fueled by the actions of young people is inspiring, and is good to see. Since the video has been targeted at the potential of youth to make a huge difference, it is good to show that youth already have!

And now for the criticism:

– Length-wise, I think it was excessive. Though there was a lot to say, it almost seemed as though it could have been cut down by a few minutes in order to make every word more powerful.

– The choice of April 20th 2012 to be “the” day is just silly. Though I am not a participant, everyone knows the significance of 4/20, and to have a huge worldwide movement on the same day that directly connotes with smoking marijuana is careless.

– I also think that the way in which he portrays the African population is not necessarily fair. He seems to ignore the efforts that are happening within Uganda for healing and peace. As highlighted in Creighton’s Backpack Journalism video Mato Oput, there is a lot of action within Uganda to make progress of healing and forgiveness, as well as rebuild the country. I think that the light shed on Africa in the KONY 2012 video ignores the abilities of African citizens to help themselves. I do not deny that the world needs to be involved if anything is to be accomplished, but it is not as though Africa is a helpless nation full of people who don’t know anything. It is unfair to degrade them in this way. Mato Oput shows a whole other side of the people of Africa that the KONY 2012 video ignores, and that is the efforts of Ugandan people to work for change.

On a whole other note, and to apply it to social media class, I am absolutely astounded at the magnitude and speed of sharing this video. Their social media tactics were seamless and ingenious. To target specific influencers (celebrities) and have them tweet about it was perhaps the best decision they could have made. The viral spread was almost instantaneous, and humbles my 2,011 views of all time (yet I’m still so proud of that!) Maybe I should have Ryan Seacrest or Ellen DeGeneres tweet about readmoore.

The article by Ethan Zuckerman really shed light on the influence of small towns and specific social media moguls, combining to form the recipe for viral success.

And one final thought: This video has gotten so much flack about being politically-driven, biased, rude, offensive, overly dramatic, self-promoting, and every other insult that the world can come up with. But I think that in overanalyzing the video, we are doing exactly what we’ve been doing all along with the Uganda issue: ignoring the real problem. There is a time and a place to question the legitimacy of things, to analyze the video techniques, and yes, even criticize the director on his drunken…..activities. But in my opinion, the whole point of this video is, in itself, good and wholesome – and that should not be ignored.

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About Christina Moore

Originally from Portland, Maine, I now live in Chicago and work with extraordinary nonprofit organizations to help them champion their individual causes. My heart is in the 207, and my feet are on the ground in the 312. Enjoy readmoore!
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One Response to Breaking the “conspiracy of silence” and the effectiveness of #KONY2012

  1. Interesting ideas here, Christina. (And thanks for the Mato Oput shoutout.) I think the criticisms are well taken. In the end, I feel as if paying attention to Uganda is better than not thinking about it at all.

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